CHICAGO (AP) — Oakland scored three times in the ninth inning, then Coco Crisp hit a go-ahead single in a three-run 10th as the Athletics feasted on Chicago’s shaky bullpen for a startling 7-4 win over the White Sox.
Crisp entered the game in the ninth as a pinch-runner and was in a 3-for-22 slump before singling off Matt Thornton (0-2). The struggling Chicago closer had walked Conor Jackson and Josh Willingham to set up Crisp.
Daric Barton followed with a two-run single and Thornton was booed as he was walked off mound and was replaced by Tony Pena.
Cliff Pennington’s two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single in the ninth off Thornton made it 4-all. It was the third late-inning meltdown by Chicago’s bullpen in less than a week, all resulting in tough losses.
With the White Sox leading 4-1 in the ninth, Chicago reliever Chris Sale gave up a leadoff double to Jackson, an RBI single to Willingham and a single to Hideki Matsui. Jesse Crain came on and walked pinch-hitter Barton to load the bases before fanning Kurt Suzuki.
Thornton then struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Sweeney for the second out before No. 9 hitter Pennington dropped his two-run single into center.
Thornton, who took over as Chicago’s closer this spring, still does not have a save this season in four chances.
Grant Balfour (1-1) pitched the ninth for the win and Brian Fuentes the 10th for his fifth save in as many chances.
Oakland’s rally denied Chicago starter John Danks a victory after he gave up a run and five hits in eight solid innings and left with a three-run lead.
The White Sox broke a 1-all tie in the sixth against Oakland starter Brett Anderson when Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch, Alex Rios doubled and a sliding Quentin scored on Ramon Castro’s grounder to third that drew a high throw to the plate from Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Brent Morel dropped down a bunt to score Rios from third for a 3-1 lead. Juan Pierre’s third single of the game chased Anderson (0-2), who was hurt by his own error in the fifth. Anderson gave up nine hits and three runs — two of them earned — in 5 2-3 innings.
Chicago added a run in the eighth as Rios walked, stole second, moved up a sacrifice and scored on Kouzmanoff’s throwing error.
Matsui’s second homer of the season put Oakland up 1-0 in the fourth. Chicago tied it in the fifth when Pierre reached as Anderson fumbled his comebacker for an error and Gordon Beckham doubled.
NOTES: Pierre reached base five times Wednesday — on three hits, an error and a walk. … White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the fans’ reaction to Pierre on Tuesday night, giving him a mock cheer every time he catches a fly ball, was unfair to the left fielder. Pierre twice dropped fly balls during the current homestand that led to late meltdowns and losses by the White Sox. “He doesn’t deserve that,” Guillen said. There were a few boos in the third inning Wednesday when Pierre fumbled Pennington’s single for an error, allowing him to advance to second base. Pierre now has three errors in 12 games. He made only one error in each of the previous two seasons combined, a span of 305 games. … … Oakland’s Andy LaRoche made his sixth start of the season at a fourth different position, this time getting the nod at first base.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)